we are and feel honored!
The Board of Trustees of the European Cultural Foundation PRO EUROPA awarded the Intendant of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Numa Bischof Ullmann, and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra with the European Cultural Prize for Music yœurope Award at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.
On April 17, 2023, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the oldest orchestra in Switzerland (founded in 1805) – and its artistic director Numa Bischof Ullmann were honored with the European Culture Prize yoeurope Award before their debut concert at the Elbphilharmonie.
“The European Cultural Foundation PRO EUROPA would like to honor the manifold activities of the artistic director Numa Bischof Ullmann and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra by awarding a prize to the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. Their commitment to the European cause deserves special attention and appreciation. We need the interaction of culture and politics in order to create a future worth living,” said Dr. Tilo D. Braune, President of the European Cultural Foundation PRO EUROPA.
Numa Bischof Ullmann has been the artistic director of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra for 20 years. Together they work out “highest quality for everyone” and he says: “we are passion and fire – and we play the devil’s ear off”. The laudatory speech was given by Nina Ruge, who is a friend of the Intendant and connected to the orchestra.
Since 2004, Numa Bischof Ullmann’s tireless commitment to the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra has brought about the orchestra’s outstanding position in the international music scene. On his way, he was able to successively enlarge the orchestra through long-term private financing, was responsible for the financing and construction of a new orchestra house, and developed a fundraising model that today sets the benchmark in the European orchestra landscape with the highest self-financing rate of over 65%. He engaged international conductors of world renown such as James Gaffigan and currently Michael Sanderling and promoted young talents from many European countries. During his directorship, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra gave concerts on four continents in 30 countries and in over 100 cities, becoming Lucerne’s international ambassador.
He also entered into a strategic partnership with Warner Classics. In 2004, he became the first Swiss orchestra to launch its own music education program. In 2022 he initiated Lucerne’s new international piano festival “Le piano symphonique”.
Statement from Numa Bischof Ullmann:
«It is an honour and a pleasure for the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, as well as for me personally as artistic director, to be nominated for the European Culture Prize.
We gratefully accept this recognition in view of our achievements over the last twenty years. Rarely does a symphony orchestra find itself in the position of having to completely reinvent itself.
The construction of the KKL Luzern as a beacon for excellence initiated this change and left us in no doubt: its resident orchestra must play at the very highest level.
Twenty years later, we are pleased to say that we have achieved many of the goals we set ourselves: the enlargement of the orchestra by over 30 additional positions thanks to record private financing, worldwide concerts, a busy recording schedule, first-class principal conductors and our own orchestra building for a simply superb sounding orchestra.
This was only possible thanks to an extraordinary team spirit. I would therefore like to share the award in deepest gratitude with all my colleagues, the long-standing principal conductor James Gaffigan as well as the incumbent Michael Sanderling, and also with President Pierre Peyer and all our supporters. I am delighted to be able to accompany the further development of the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester on its way to becoming a world-class orchestra».
About the European Cultural Foundation PRO EUROPA:
Since its foundation in Basel in 1993, the European Cultural Foundation PRO EUROPA has been awarding prizes for the active dialogue between European regions and states, with the aim of supporting a cultural exchange that accompanies politics, builds trust and promotes communication. Some of the prizewinners in recent years have included the Berlin Philharmonic under Claudio Abbado, the Vienna Philharmonic, Jonas Kaufmann, Kurt Masur, Armin Müller-Stahl, Iris Berben and Anne-Sophie Mutter, as well as Mikhail Gorbachev, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Queen Silvia of Sweden, George Soros, Sir Evelyn Rothschild, Frank O. Gehry, Jean-Claude Trichet, John Neumeier, Michael Ringier, Sir Norman Foster, Pierre Boulez, Placido Domingo, Reinhard and Liz Mohn, Sam Keller, Wolfgang Schäuble and Wolfgang Wagner.